By John M. L. Drew (auth.)

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These are all topical hits, not only against traditional targets like the magistracy and the House of Commons, but also now against the kind of 'philosophical' (Dickensian code for Benthamite) reforming zeal which many Whigs, and the Chronicle under Black, Parkes, and Easthope supported. '23 The municipal corporation of Mudfog is both an enlarged version of the 'Parish,' and a smaller-scale model of the greater metropolis, with its fog, mud, river, and its muddled and obfuscating leaders, which Dickens would construct in Bleak House, Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend.

Authorities' is one that is often ignored after the opening chapter, but an editorial tone, and the differing registers of parliamentary reporting which 'Boz' was so adept at transposing, remain in fact a notable feature of the early numbers of the serial. Until October 1836, the instalments interlaced with various political and parliamentary reports for the Chronicle: with the shortlived 'New Series' of 'Sketches by Boz' for the morning paper, with the anti-Sabbatarian pamphlet, two papers for the Library of Fiction, and so forth.

In the years before the presence of reporters was officially approved. 'll There is more to the Chronicle 'Boz' than clever parodying. His earnest assertion of access to a higher authority than Parliament, of the supremacy of personal knowledge of everyday people, and of face-to-face encounters, gives both an evangelical and a republican edge to his proceedings. There is his fascination with the macabre, with revenants, with both the loss of the past and the threat of its re-eruption into the present.

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